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Republicans push ‘Fair Deal’ agenda

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Republican legislators and candidates launched a campaign Tuesday touting their ability to deliver a “Fair Deal” for New Mexico as they push to capture a majority in the state House and Senate.

In a news conference streamed online, House Minority Leader James Townsend of Artesia and others said their legislative agenda would include easing the regulatory burden on small businesses, strong financial support for law enforcement and the elimination of taxes on Social Security benefits for older adults.

Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia

“New Mexico is at a tipping point,” Townsend said. “We’re at a point where we’re going to correct, or we’re going to sink.”

He said their candidate slate consists of 101 Republicans – some of whom are former Democrats or independents – running for the Legislature this year. All 70 seats in the House and 42 in the Senate are up for election Nov. 3.

Democrats now hold a 46-24 edge in the House and a 26-16 majority in the Senate. They have expanded their majority since 2016, picking up 13 seats in the House and putting the chamber back under Democratic control.

Republicans held a narrow House majority in 2015 and 2016.

In a written statement, House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said New Mexico can’t afford to try Republicans’ “failed approach again.”

“There is nothing ‘Fair’ about their proposal; this is merely a regurgitation of decade-old policies that will leave New Mexicans behind,” Egolf said.

Republican legislative leaders and candidates said Tuesday that Democrats have gone too far since controlling both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor’s Office over the past two years. They accused Democrats of overspending and embracing policies popular in California, not New Mexico.

Representative Rebecca Dow – (R)

The Fair Deal agenda announced Tuesday doesn’t include detailed legislative proposals. But the broad policy priorities include allowing New Mexicans to keep more of what they earn, including an elimination of taxes on seniors’ Social Security benefits; eliminating the “revolving door” of repeat offenders who move in and out of jail; and cutting one old regulation for each new one that’s enacted.

“The Fair Deal will deliver results for our children,” Republican Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences said.

Tuesday’s announcement is part of a broader Republican campaign called “Respect New Mexico” – an attempt to win over voters disillusioned by the state’s progressive turn.

Voters have already shaken up the Legislature this year. In the June 2 primary election, seven incumbents – five Democrats and two Republicans – lost their reelection bids, including some of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate.

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